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How Do I Install a TV Tuner?

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  • Written By: T.S. Adams
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2016
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Once you install a TV tuner card in a computer, you will enable the computer to detect television signals, displaying them on the computer monitor and allowing you to watch any channel to which you normally have access. There are two main types of TV tuner cards: internal cards which plug into a peripheral component interconnect (PCI) port on the computer and external cards which plug into a universal serial bus (USB) interface on the outside of the system. Regardless of the connection type, the process to install a TV tuner should take no longer than 15 to 20 minutes at the most.

If using an external TV tuner, to install a TV tuner, you will need no special tools or equipment. On the other hand, installing an internal tuner will require a Phillips-head screwdriver to open the computer case and install the card into the PCI slot on the motherboard. Additionally, you should have an electrostatic discharge strap in order to prevent static electricity from damaging the internal components of the computer.

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The process to install a TV tuner card is relatively simple; just plug the USB tuner card into any available USB port on the computer. Once the card is inserted, a message will typically appear on the screen stating that new hardware has been detected on the system. Insert the installation CD or DVD that came with your TV tuner card and follow the specific instructions that came with your individual model of card. This typically involves accepting the license agreement for the software program and selecting the hard drive where you wish to install the program. After this is done, restart the computer to complete the installation.

To install a tv tuner on an external card, shut down the computer via the options in your operating system. Once the computer is off, disconnect the power cable from the back of the computer and remove the screws on the rear right-hand side of the computer case. Slide the side panel off to expose the motherboard. Locate an available PCI slot; these are the horizontal slots that run along the bottom half of the motherboard towards the rear of the case.

Once you have found an available PCI slot, insert the card firmly, pressing down with both hands until it is locked in position. The screwhole on the card will align perfectly with the hole in the back of the case. Screw the card into position to secure it and close the computer case. Restart the computer and follow the installation instructions for your tuner card — just like installing the software on an external TV tuner — to complete the installation.

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